November 30th, 2019

laszlo moholy-nagy_chx

Disarray

Oh, weirdness. A short evening nap turned long again and found me waking at the bizarre hour of 11:38 PM. Wandering through the subsequent fog has been interesting, I believe, or at least suspect, but I never remember what I see there, so I can't be sure. Maybe I got mugged and just don't recall. Either way it probably doesn't matter. Here I am in the middle of a cold night, trying to write coherent sentences on the digital ether, and wondering why I don't just haul out that bottle of the good vodka and drink myself into a stupor.

Anybody got change for a Hern?

So I woke up early enough today to get to the Goodwill store by noon, and bought several books from the half price sale, but I was denied a access to the history shelf by a very strange old short guy who had a shopping cart blocking most of it as he rummaged through the books and moved many of them to his cart while keeping up a running monologue that was just barely this side of schizophrenic. Of course he made me nostalgic for Los Angeles, and even for all the great American cities of the 20th century I never visited, and perhaps gave me a glimpse of my own not-too-distant future.

His head sagged between his shoulders like a vulture's, a condition I've seen before and which I'm sure has a name, though I don't know it and don't feel like tracking it down on the Internet. He was probably much taller once, and from snatches of his monologue I discovered that he was once in the Marine corps, so I just left him to his rummaging and didn't risk bothering him, letting him have the giant paperback of Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, since it makes no difference to the universe which of us has it, crazy old coot brother strangers of the bookshelves. Yes, I do mutter to myself in the stores now, though I clearly have nothing to say. It's the only way I can keep myself focused on what I'm doing.

But I still scored some decent books, including one in Spanish, a language of which my limited command has long since rusted away. There was also a Spanish-English dictionary on the shelf, and I thought (or more likely muttered) to myself "I ought to get that too," but I was already juggling several books and got distracted and forgot to pick it up. The book I did buy doesn't require an understanding of the language, though, since it is full of photographs and drawings of Mexico City and its hinterland, and I'm sure I can puzzle out enough of the text to know what I'm looking at. I'm actually quite delighted with this book, a large-format paperback which cost me only a buck.

Also delightful, I got the second and third volumes of Cleveland Amory's trilogy about his cat, though the first volume, The Cat Who Came for Christmas, was unavailable. I'm sure the other two volumes, The Cat and the Curmudgeon and The Best Cat Ever can each stand alone. At first I thought that the title of the second must be a lie, since I had the best cat ever, but then I realized that all of my cats have been the best cat ever (and most of them were also the worst cat ever, or close to it,) so why shouldn't Amory's cat also legitimately claim that title?

In addition I picked up copies of a couple of things I've long intended to read but never gotten around to (and still might not get around to, considering my age and condition,) one being J. D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy, and another The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. The latter is in a Harvard Classics volume which it shares with some Epictetus and some Plato, so... bonus? There is also a copy of Sure of You, the final volume of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series, so I've got most of those now.

And then I found two books that replace some I lost in the fire, Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and the New Directions paperback of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night, which is exactly the edition I had, but probably a later printing since it was originally priced at $1.75, and I think the copy I had cost $1.25 at Vroman's book store in Pasadena around 1964. Oh, and there's a copy of Lawrence Lessig's Republic, Lost, his 2011 book about the influence of money in politics. Apparently it has had little impact in the last eight years, but I bought it anyway.

After I got back from the Goodwill store it was too late to be taking the bus to the bus-accessible stores, but I did wander down to Grocery Outlet a bit later, and oh was it cold out by then! The current highs and lows are probably a good ten degrees below the average in these parts for this time of year. It's cold all the way down to southern California. The Internet today was full of photos of snow on the San Gabriel mountains yesterday. I lived in sight of the San Gabriels for over forty years, and though I remember seeing some snow on them more winters than not, I don't recall ever seeing it as early as Thanksgiving Day.

This unseasonable chill is apt to last for quite some time here, though perhaps in slightly less extreme form. Rain is expected to return tomorrow (maybe even later tonight) and recur frequently for the next few weeks, at the least. I'll be needing milk soon, but I don't know if I'll be able to get to the store to buy any. I'm going to have to go easy on the hot chocolate. I'd like to get to Kmart to buy some flannel sheets that might still be on sale, too, since all I have now are percale, which are great for summer but not ideal in winter. The next couple of weeks are likely to be a bit weird and annoying. I'm glad I've got plenty of books to distract me.

And now I have to eat something, since I totally slept through dinnertime. Weirdness.